Help needed for Toys For TotsPublished 10:56pm Saturday, September 22, 2012
A couple organizing the Toys For Tots campaign in Isle of Wight and Surry counties for the first time is appealing for volunteers, sponsors and donations to help make the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program a success.
David and Elizabeth Moose, organizers of a toy-gathering party for the past 11 years, have been recruited by the Marines to be the civilians in charge of the program in the counties.
The Mooses have several events planned already, including a fundraising effort during Plantation Christmas at Chippokes Plantation State Park from Oct. 25 to Oct. 27.
Closer to Suffolk, Bing Gatewood’s annual car cruise at Charlie Daniels Racing is planned for Nov. 3, when performances by the Smithfield High School Band and others will also feature in music fest at Smithfield High.
The couple’s biggest event is scheduled for Dec. 1, the 12th annual Car, Truck & Bike Show and Music & Food Fest at Daniels Performance Group in Smithfield, halfway between Benn’s Church and Chuckatuck.
“We need as many volunteers as we can,” Elizabeth Moose said, including homes and workplaces to serve as collection sites for toys, and folks who want to organize their own events, for instance.
“Last year, we had somebody who had a birthday party for their 6-year-old child and put out there that all toys would be donated to Toys For Tots.”
Collecting toys can be an excuse for office workers to throw a party, for instance, and individuals, groups and business can also donate goods and services to help others stage events.
“In previous years, the community has donated every single thing,” Moore said, “like Farm Fresh (for food) and the Heather Edwards Band, which usually charges $1,200, come and play.”
Other who will be helping again in 2012 include Harrell Cook of Cook’s Moving and Storage, with barbeque plates and fixings, and the Nightingale helicopter, which flies in Santa Claus.
“A lot of the car show people are volunteers,” Moose said.
“We need people to donate one hour of their time … and other people to hold their own event to generate toys. It’s a lot of management, and in previous years it’s taken 50 volunteers to pull it off. Every time someone volunteers they come back, because they love it. It goes right back to that it’s-better-to-give-than-to-receive thing.”
When the couple first volunteered with the program, “it was so rewarding that the next year we wanted to have twice as many toys.”
They ended up with 4,000 toys in that second year, Moose said, and it has all grown from there.
To help, email CallTheMooseTeam@gmail.com.